In a letter to Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, senior advocate and former president of Supreme Court Bar Association Dushyant Dave alleged that two cases involving Adani Group companies were listed out of turn by the Supreme Court during the summer vacation and disposed of in contravention to the settled practice and procedure.
He lashed out at the 'inappropriate' listing of the two Adani cases by the CJI before the bench of Justice Arun Mishra during the vacation.
The first case is Parsa Kenta Collieries Ltd v. Rajasthan Rajya Vidyut Utpadan Nigam Limited (Civil Appeal 9023/ 2018) which arose out of SLP (C) 18586/ 2018 in which leave was granted on August 24, 2018 by a bench of Justices Rohinton Nariman and Indu Malhotra.
Dave also pointed out the second case, M/s Adani Power (Mundra) Ltd v. Gujarat Electricity Regulatory Commission and Ors.
Since the four judges' press conference, situation in the SC has worsened. Cases with far reaching consequences for the nation and cases of political overtones are being systematically assigned to benches of 'preference' without rationale, Dave's letter said.
"Adani group co matter was listed before SC vacation bench without any orders to that effect, without any urgency. Who ordered the matter to be listed and why are very serious questions. Arguments were concluded and judgment was reserved without being informed and without their consent," Dave stated in the letter.
The second case had earlier come up for hearing before a Bench of Justices Jasti Chelameswar and AM Sapre on February 1, 2017, when it was adjourned with the order saying “list the matters next week”. It was not listed thereafter before any Bench.
The letter states that the junior advocate from the office of the respondent AoR requested the Bench not to take up the matter, but the Bench did not heed to the request and heard the matter straightaway. The said appeal was eventually allowed.
These two judgments will lead to benefits of "thousands of crores" flowing to Adani, said Dave.
“Both these matters were listed, taken up and heard without any justification and in hurry and in an improper manner. As a result, besides causing grave injury to public interest and public revenue, it has caused immense damage to the image of the Supreme Court… It is disturbing that the Supreme Court of India should take up regular matters of a large corporate house during the summer vacation in such a cavalier fashion," Dave's letter stated.
This issue has raised several questions like "Why were cases listed before Justice Arun Mishra when other benches were available. Has the SC registry become party to such listing in violation of its own procedures? Did the registry seek the consent of the CJI is listing of these matters?" Dave asked in the letter. The lawyer has requested the CJI to look into the matter.
An Adani spokesperson said, "The letter of Dave has come to our notice. In the letter, Dave has commented on the process of listing the matters in vacation bench and not on the merits of the case. It is unfortunate that misconceived and malicious statements against the apex court and our company are made on the listing procedure without proper verification."
"The arbitration matter was in the list of vacation matters and came for hearing in the normal course. It was as per the procedure prescribed for listing in vacation. It was prescribed that arbitration matters which require to be adjudicated expeditiously can be listed with the consent of parties to the case- which was done. Dave had in this matter himself appeared for us before Rajasthan High Court," the spokesperson added.Further, the spokesperson said, "Another matter of Adani Power was listed pursuant to an application for urgent hearing after due notice to the opposite side advocates. Thus requisite procedure was strictly followed for listing the matters in action. The insinuations made regarding other matters of Adani Group are wholly unwarranted."